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Will My Military Retirement Affect My Social Security?

Published on November 4th, 2019

As a veteran, you can receive your military pension and full social security benefits at the same time. There is no penalty for collecting benefits from the Department of Defense and the Social Security Administration. In fact, depending on your years of active duty service, your military service could increase your social security retirement benefits. Be aware, however, that your military retirement pension may be affected by the disability compensation you receive from the Veterans Administration–but only if you have a disability lower than 50 percent, or your injury is not combat related.

The United States does its best to compensate its veterans for their service. But for many, the process of obtaining this compensation is not always easy. If the VA has denied your application for disability compensation, or gave you a lower disability rating than you deserve, the veterans benefits lawyers of Jackson & MacNichol can help. Make sure that you and your family are getting access to all the benefits you deserve by calling 800-524-3339 today for a free consultation.

Understanding Military Retirement Pay

Unlike disability compensation, your military retirement pay is considered as taxable income. Therefore, if you are required to offset your military retirement pay because of the disability compensation you receive, you will essentially by trading taxable income for non taxable income. You will only be in this situation if you your injuries are not combat related, or you are rated as 40 % disabled or less. Otherwise, you can enjoy your VA disability compensation while receiving full military retirement pay from the DOD.

If you served in the armed forces, you may be eligible for retirement pay after 20 years of service.  But if you were a commissioned officer, you may be eligible to receive retirement pay sooner.

Regardless of the branch you served in, you may also get retirement pay because a disability forced you to retire. In this case, your eligibility for retirement is no longer based on your time of service, but whether your medical condition is service related. If you are rated as 20 percent disabled, you will get severance pay. But if you are rated as 30 percent disabled or higher, you will receive retirement pay. If you are rated as 50 percent disabled, you may be able to collect both DOD retirement pay and disability compensation from the VA without any offsets.

How a Veterans Disability Lawyer Can Help

While your military retirement pay does not affect your social security, the interaction between military retirement and disability compensation can be complex. Depending on your disability rating, you may be able to collect both. For this reason, you must ensure that your medical examinations accurately reflect your state of health. If you believe that you received an unfairly low disability rating, a veterans compensation lawyer can help. Call Jackson & MacNichol today at 800-524-3339 for a free consultation.


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